Facilitation Guide

If you want to conduct your first retro, here you will find out everything you need to know – from preparation to implementation and moderation.

If you haven't already: Create your team

In the first step, give your team a team name and add the email addresses of your team members. If you want to add new team members later, this is easily possible in the settings.

Recommendation: To familiarize yourself with the functionalities, start with a demo team first. You can archive the demo team later in the team settings.

You can create a new team in the menu bar on the left

You can then optionally choose a template for your team. The templates are based on the maturity level or goals of the team. This selection determines what pre-selected questions fit your chosen topic and will be saved in the item pool. You can adjust this preselection at any time.

If you don't want to use a template, you can skip this step with the Next button.

In the last step, you can select the interval in which you want to conduct your team retrospectives. As a result, you as the facilitator ("team admin") will receive a reminder via email when it's time to prepare the next retro after the first retro has taken place.

Choose a suitable template for your team

Preparing your first retro

The preparation time depends on how much you want to customize your retro. We recommend you to take about 20 minutes so that you can familiarize yourself with the tool.

Get feedback from your team

The question types

The preparation of the retro starts with sending a small survey to the team. The feedback from the survey is the basis for the retro.

The survey in Echometer allows you to get feedback in two different ways:

  • Scale items: Team members evaluate the items from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree".
Example of a scaling item in the survey
  • Open questions: These are often bundled as so-called "themes".
Example for an open question

The survey editor

In the survey editor, you can prepare the survey and choose your desired items. 

To make it easier for you, the scaling items will rotate so that you will automatically receive new themes in every retro without having to adjust it yourself every time.

  • The Team items are based on the selected team templates. You can see the rotation in the team item pool and adjust it as you wish.
  • The Echo items are set centrally by the workspace admin and queried and evaluated across teams.
Open questions are not rotated automatically.

The rotation is just a suggestion. Before each retro, you can adjust, remove or add the suggested items as you wish.

You create the survey on the team page
Clicking on Next opens the "Send survey" dialog.

Here you can deselect individual team members and you have the option to see a survey preview . Once you have submitted the survey, it can no longer be edited.

The team members receive the survey automatically via email and can then fill out the survey anonymously. As long as the survey is running, you can still edit your answers.

The dialog for sending the survey
Survey link & number of responses
Every team member can see the number of responses received so far on the team page.

Here you can also find the link to the survey – which can be used if a team member has not received the invitation or has deleted it.

Poll link and number of responses on the team page

Start the retro

In addition to the "start retro" button, there are some configuration options for check-in & Co. that you can use optionally. As soon as you see the results or start the retro, feedback can no longer be given or edited.

When the retro starts, all team members automatically receive an invitation to participate by email and can thus join the retro (even without prior registration).

On the team page you can see the results and start the retro

Conducting your first retro

The following explanations will guide you through the retro step by step and contain tips on how to facilitate it. A retro usually takes 45 to 90 minutes depending on the number of topics you want do discuss. For the first retro, you should plan the time generously and keep the number of topics small. This gives your team enough time to familiarize yourselves with Echometer.

The home screen

You are now on the starting screen of the retro. There are various things that you can already see and adjust here.

At the top

  • Agenda – At the top of the screen, you can see the retro agenda which gives you an overview of which stage you are in right now and what step comes next. At the beginning of each step, you should briefly explain to the team what you will be discussing in that step.
  • Time management – At the top right, the current time is displayed. You also have the option to use a timer to keep an eye on the time. To do this, simply click on the symbol with the alarm clock and select a desired time.

Right

  • Fast reactions – In order to ensure good communication during retro without interrupting other team members, there are some "fast reactions" with which you can indicate that you agree or disagree with other people's comments, want to move on to the next topic or to say something yourself.
  • Participant overview – Underneath the fast reactions, you can mouse over your avatar and see which team members are already online (helpful in remote retros, i.e. if team members join online). When everyone is present, the retro can be started using the to check-in" button.

Check-In

The Check-In should serve to include all participants from the start and create an open atmosphere for discussion. Every team member answers the check-in question in a maximum of 20 seconds and then passes on to the next team member. 

Optionally, you can you can all write down your check-in on the whiteboard (useful in remote retros). Each team member can create a sticky note with a double click on the whiteboard.

Once the check-in has been completed, you can click the "Next" button below to go to the next step on the agenda.

The check-in serves as an introduction to the retro

Collect information

Open question in retro

In this step, the survey results that have been collected in advance are displayed and discussed. First the results of the open questions and then the results of the scale questions are displayed. As the facilitator, you can flexibly adjust this order before the retro.

During the retro, further feedback can be given. You can enter this in the space provided and then share it with the other participants.

The results of the scaling questions are displayed over time (when there are multiple measurement points). The results of the current survey are displayed in green and the results of the last retro in gray.

Comments can also be added here, which can still be viewed after the retro.

Scaling item in the retro

Action Item Review

In this step, all action items that were set or continued in the last retrospective are discussed. You can decide whether an action item has been completed, whether it should be retained or deleted. Once this step has been completed, you get to plan your new action items.

If this is your first retro, this step will be skipped since no previous actions have been set.

Review of open measures

Analysis and action items

All the answers from the retro are displayed here in an overview.

Activate live voting

Prioritize with live voting
First, as the facilitator, you can activate live voting. You can determine how many votes per person can be cast. This allows you to prioritize the topics that have been collected so far and makes it easier to derive new action items

As the facilitator, you can see how many votes have already been cast – not all votes have to be cast to end the voting. When the live voting is over, all responses are sorted based on the number of votes. That makes it is easy to see which topics are considered important in your team.

Analyze on the whiteboard & derive measures

Depending on your needs, you can either record a measure directly for feedback or open it on a whiteboard.

When formulating action items, we recommend noting the first concrete step in the title and the larger goal in the details.

  • Title = first step, which can be implemented by the next retro
  • Details = goal or problem which should be solved
  • Responsible -> A personthat keeps an eye on the topic and will give a status update in the next retro

You are of course free to deviate from this format if it makes sense to you.

Popup for adding a new measure
Create action item or open a new whiteboard

Check-out & conclusion of the retro

Finally, each participant has the opportunity to briefly reflect and evaluatethe retro. When all votes have been collected, the voting can be closed by the facilitator. The result will then be visible and you can take turns sharing what went well in the retro and what could be done better next time.

When the participants are done, you can finish the retro. After completion, all participants will receive an email with the results from the retro. 

If a person has been assigned a measure, they will also receive an email notification.

The check-out completes the retro

The Cultural Health Check

After the retro, you can look at the results and the development of your teams.

Team Development

On the team page of your team, you can not only prepare the next retro but also see the results of past retros by selecting "Team Development".

The first thing you can see here is an overview of the results of the last retro. Below you can also see results of older retrospectives.

An overview of past retros and results

Echo Dashboard

An overview of the cross-team development

If you conduct retros with several teams, you can use so-called Echo items that will automatically be queried in the surveys of all your teams. That way, you can capture the cross-team development within your organization.

The Echo Dashboard will then show you the cross-team development information about completed measures, retros and echo items. The display of the results over time gives you the opportunity to quickly gather trends and developments.

Echo Item Pool

Find the Echo item pool under "Workspace Administration"

In the Echo item pool under "Workspace Management", you can choose which items should be queried across teams. 

If you set more than two echo items, they will rotateso that the polls don't get too long. This will automatically fill up over time Echo dashboard.

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Any further questions?

Maybe a look at ours will help FAQs or contact us via our contact form and let us know what you miss on this page.